|Turks Caicos Economy|
The islands of Turks & Caicos are a British Overseas Territory that is located in the Caribbean area of the world. There are two groups of islands, with the Caicos Islands being larger than the group of Turks Islands. The Turks & Caicos Islands lie to the south-east of the island of Mayaguana and to the north of the island of Hispaniola. The island groups cover a relatively small area, some 170 square miles altogether, and have a combined population of around 36,000. Like a few other of the Caribbean nations and territories, Turks & Caicos does not use the East Caribbean Dollar but opts for the US Dollar instead. The Turks & Caicos economy is kept buoyant by a few key industries.
Early Economy in Turks & Caicos
Surprisingly, perhaps, the history of the Turks & Caicos economy is somewhat different to other Caribbean islands. Unlike many others who were settled and became heavily involved in the production of sugar cane, coffee or tobacco, the Turks & Caicos Islands had little or no involvement in these types of industries. The Spanish were the first "westerners" to settle on the islands in the 15th century, and most of the natives were then captured and transported to other parts of the world as slaves. This depleted the population of the islands and remained this way right up until the 17th century. From the 17th century the islands became inhabited by salt collectors from Bermuda and then became a popular spot for pirate hideouts from the start of the 18th century.
Welcome to Turks & Caicos !
In the current Turks & Caicos economy there are a few key industries that assist with stability and also growth on the islands. The first of these is tourism which is the largest income-earner for the country. There are over 175,000 visitors to the island groups each year with the majority of travellers (as much as 75%) coming from the United States of America. The country also benefits from day trippers stopping on cruise ships as well as landed visitors who stay overnight.
The government of the islands has embraced the tourism sector vigorously, trying to cater for the luxury end of the market and also building a new port to encourage more cruise line activity. With the steady growth of the tourism sector, associated industries such as construction, hotel services, restaurant services and retail have also been able to slowly develop and reap the rewards.
Exports & Agriculture Boost Turks & Caicos Economy
The agricultural industry is also a key factor in the stability of the Turks & Caicos economy. Unlike many other Caribbean countries that have a variety of products available for export to their trade partners, the fishing sector is the most prominent on the Turks & Caicos Islands. The likes of lobsters, conch shells and dried conch are the main exports of the islands. Although this is a limited selection, the agricultural sector (including fishing) does account for around 20% of the overall available workforce (the total workforce for the islands being approximately 4,850).
As well as agriculture and tourism, the Turks & Caicos Islands benefit from a small but growing financial sector. Offshore financial services are a fairly substantial revenue earner for the government along with customs receipts. In relation to the size of the islands and their economic growth, it is fair to say that the islands are managing to keep a slow and steady pace. There is no doubt that with committal from the government and any interested overseas investors, there is plenty of room for the Turks & Caicos economy to diversify and grow in the years to come.